GUEST BLOG: Great Britain hockey ace Mel Clewlow
THE PRESSURE is on for Great Britain's hockey ladies in 2012 - we can already hear the clock ticking.
TICK TOCK: GB's Mel Clewlow can already her the clock ticking ahead of London 2012
We know only too well anything other than a medal will be deemed a failure.
The women's team is in a fortunate position as we're the only team to qualify for 2012 at the moment but that puts a lot of stress on us to finish in a medal winning position.
There are 12 fanastic teams and all want to finish in the top three which is evidently going to make it difficult.
Being at home has got its advantages but we've got added demand of home expectations.
All the players, coaches and anyone involved really needs to push themselves as hard as they can to try and perform well in 2012.
A good result in the Olympics could lead to more money being invested in hockey in England and enhancing the sport.
When the women won the Bronze in Barcelona 1992 it certainly improved the numbers within the game and sports, like cycling, that exceeded their targets in Beijing have had more plenty more opportunities come their way.
We were so close to being in the top four in Beijing and if we can build on what we have done previously, there's no reason why we can't celebrate our Olympic dream with a medal.
The Women's Olympic bid has got off to a great start with our youth team defending their gold medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival earlier this year.
Charlotte Craddock and Laura Bartlett performed particularly well in those games and for some of the younger ones out there, there seems no reason why they can't fight for a place in the squad of 16 that goes to London.
If we can get it right, the future of hockey in this country looks really good. We just need to put trust in the coaching staff and we can channel those players in the right direction.
One way to help improve the players potential is for them to go across and play in foreign leagues. This year is an ideal time for players to go - Alex Danson, who plays in Holland with Klein Zwitserland, has certainly proved that it is beneficial for one's game.
I think it's a great idea- not only do you improve your hockey but you are forced to grow up as an individual because you're living out of your comfort zone.
In Holland you train up to four times a week and it gives our players an insight into what is probably the closest to a professional league as you can get.
However, as we get closer to 2012 I'd like to see those players back over here playing in our leagues and improving the quality of English hockey.
Playing overseas is definitely worthwhile but at the same time players need to come back to train as a British squad in the lead up to London.
Unfortunately I think the biggest issue for English hockey is that we have some top class clubs but not necessarily the best coaching staff to back it up and that's why players can get more out of playing for foreign clubs.
At Canterbury we're lucky to have access to a good quality coach, Ian Jennings, but Slough Hockey Club don't even have a coach at the moment and there are players there that would benefit from training with a coach.
It is easy to blame the quality of the league on players or umpires, but the coaching structure needs to be looked at - above all else that is where the nation's future success lies.